Ecopetrol launched on Monday the second phase of emergency works to cope with the aftermath of a burst oil pipe in northern Colombia, according to newspaper El Espectador.
Ecopetrol, Colombia’s state-owned oil company, has begun decontamination operations in the Iscala creek and Paplonita River in the department of Norte de Santander, following a burst oil pipe on Sunday that spilled thousands of litres of crude oil into the river.
The decontamination process, being carried out by specialists contracted by Ecopetrol, follows the initial phase, which focused on trying to salvage as much clean water as possible for nearby Cucuta, capital of the department. A fleet of 17 tanks continue to transport clean water to the Cucuta metropolitan area.
Microbiology laboratories in coastal city Barranquilla, and in Ecopetrol’s Colombian Institute of Petroleum, are carrying out tests on the contamination levels of water samples, to determine when water services can safely be restored.
According to Colombian press, more than one million residents of Cucuta and the surrounding area remain with limited or no access to clean water supplies.